Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 17, 2011


Prosperous Peel: From integration to inclusion (Caledon Citizen)
“Canada, while being one of the most tolerant and diverse societies in the world, is not yet an inclusive society,” commented Ratna Omidvar, keynote speaker of the event and President of Maytree Foundation. “Inclusion goes a step further than integration, where the newcomer is an active partner in shaping and changing institutions and society. Neither integration nor inclusion can happen accidentally or wishfully. They require the discipline of intentions, instruments and investments. We need to focus on places where inclusion is most important – at work, in the board-room, in the media, in political and civic life.”

Maytree’s Alejandra Bravo shakes up the civic landscape (Dianne Nice, Globe and Mail)
Alejandra Bravo is manager of leadership programs at Toronto-based Maytree, a private charitable foundation committed to reducing poverty and inequality in Canada and to building strong civic communities. She has held the role for five years.

Video: Marketplace of Good Ideas in Immigrant Integration, Seattle, US (Cities of Migration)
Five outstanding US practices, all E Pluribus Unum Award winners, and 5 international practices from Toronto, London, Barcelona, Kerpen, and Auckland have been selected to demonstrate the power of local initiatives to make immigration a success. The Marketplace is co-presented by The Maytree Foundation, on behalf of the Cities of Migration initiative, and the J.M. Kaplan Fund and Migration Policy Institute’s Center on National Immigrant Integration Policy, on behalf of the E Pluribus Unum immigrant integration awards.

Diversity in the boardroom is not just a matter of appearance (Diane Peters, Globe and Mail)
Walk down a main street in Canada and you’ll likely find yourself in a diverse crowd of different genders, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations and physical abilities. But step into a corporate board of directors meeting and you will probably find yourself in a homogeneous all-male, all-white group.

Few women, minorities on corporate boards: report (Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun)
If approximately one in seven of a company’s board seats are held by women, is that good enough? How about one in 20 for visible minorities or less than one per cent for aboriginals? Apparently so, according to most board respondents surveyed in the Canadian Board Diversity Council’s second annual report card on board diversity, which was released Wednesday.

Group challenges boards to be more diverse (Money/
The people warming boardroom seats in offices across corporate Canada do not reflect the diverse makeup of the wider public and one group is looking to change that. The Canadian Board Diversity Council’s (CBDC) Second Annual Report Card found even in sectors where women are best represented in the boardroom, such as utilities, they still hold only 22% of the seats. In other industries including finance, retail, manufacturing and mining, women account for anywhere between 6% and 20% of all top jobs. Meanwhile, 73% of large companies and charities polled by CBDC said they feel their boards are diverse. What’s more, 59% are against the idea of penning a formal diversity policy.

Deported man paid $4,000 to sneak back into Canada, reveals thriving people smuggling industry (Adrian Humphreys, National Post)
It took a few hours riding in a car and a short muddy walk that ended with $4,000 in cash passed to a pair of alien smugglers, but those were the only obstacles Shaid Uddin faced in getting into Canada despite a previous deportation. “With the help of my friend I met a Pakistani smuggler in a restaurant in New York. He promised to bring me to Canada in exchange for $4,000,” Mr. Uddin told Canadian immigration officials later, when the Bangladeshi national tried to make his presence in Canada legal so he could settle with his wife in Montreal, whom he married over the telephone.

DiverseCity Counts: The Importance of Diverse Leadership in the Greater Toronto Area (
The Greater Toronto Area plays a pivotal role within the Canadian economy. It is also one of the most richly diverse communities in the world. There is enormous potential to take advantage of diversity, according to DiverseCity Counts: The Importance of Diverse Leadership in the Greater Toronto Area. The report, from The Diversity Institute in Management and Technology at Toronto’s Ryerson University, reviews various studies examining the benefits of diverse leadership and why Toronto organizations should make the most of a diverse population.

Immigrants Healthier Than Canadian-Born Citizens (CBC)
The healthy immigrant effect persists, according to a Statistics Canada study released Wednesday that found immigrants are generally healthier than Canadian-born citizens. Some healthy people who immigrate to Canada find their health deteriorating after their arrival, but little is known about why the edge in health declines for immigrants the longer they live in Canada.

The healthy immigrant effect and mortality rates (Statistics Canada)
In 2006, immigrants made up one-fifth (19.8%) of Canada’s population, a percentage that is expected to reach at least 25% by 2031.1 The health and the health services needs of this large and growing share of the population are not necessarily the same as those of people born in Canada.2,3 Research has repeatedly found a “healthy immigrant effect”—immigrants’ health is generally better than that of the Canadian-born, although it tends to decline as their years in Canada increase.4-14 However, the relationship between immigration and health is complex, especially because the origins of immigrants to Canada are increasingly diverse. Since the 1960s, the major source countries have shifted from European to non-European nations. Consequently, it is important to analyze the healthy immigrant effect by birthplace and period of immigration.

Canada tightens screws on Namibian visitors (Magreth Nunuhe, New Era)
Several Namibian job hunters have lost tens of thousands of dollars in airfares after Air Namibia at Hosea Kutako International Airport prevented them from travelling to Canada where many have migrated in search of menial jobs. Those on the receiving end were denied the opportunity to migrate to Canada to seek employment despite having valid air tickets and fulfilling other travel requirements. Speaking on condition of anonymity, one distraught traveller, whose hopes to visit family living in Canada were dashed, told New Era that on the day that she was to travel to Toronto, she was refused entry at the airport checkpoint by airline staff.

Event Nov 23: Diverse But Equal: How Can Toronto Thrive In All Senses? (Canadian Urban Institute)
The 2011 Urban Leadership Awards included a tribute to Jane Jacobs and the 50th Anniversary of her famous book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. In celebration of this milestone and the inspiration to create better cities, displays on her life and accomplishments were created by the design students of George Brown College. This discussion series continues the debate around her ideas about what cities should be like, and asks, what should Toronto be like, what should we do, and how should we do it?

Five myths about Canada’s immigration policies (Elie Mikhael Nasrallah, The Canadian Charger)
There are few things Canadians like to stay away from discussing and debating: religion, politics and changes to the game of hockey. Well, you could add another untouchable topic: immigration. Is Canada losing control of its culture, heritage and future? As immigration continues to be central to our future, it is worth, I believe, discarding some misconceptions and misinformation about Canada’s immigration policies and rules.

Adopting Canadian values should be condition of immigration: Poll (Calgary Herald)
Canadians almost unanimously want new immigrants to adopt Canadian values, but don’t support the same strict approach when it comes to how long it takes new arrivals to become economically self-sufficient, a new study suggests. The study from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation found that 97 per cent of Canadians believed that adopting Canadian values of gender equality and tolerance of others should be a condition of being accepted into the country.
Full report –

Dalhousie poll finds Canadians think immigrants should assimilate our values (Bethany Horne, Openfile Halifax)
A poll, conducted by Environics in collaboration with Dalhousie University, has found that 95 percent of Canadians believe new immigrants should adopt values such as “gender equality” and “tolerance of others” in order to settle in Canada. The poll, unveiled today, surveyed Canadian immigrants as well as people born in Canada and found they had almost identical opinions on some questions about immigrant integration. There were more differences of opinions on the subject of whether immigrants should “raise their children as Canadians.”

International Day for Tolerance 16 November (UN)
On the day of its fiftieth anniversary, 16 November 1995, UNESCO’s Member States adopted a Declaration of Principles on Tolerance. Among other things, the Declaration affirms that tolerance is neither indulgence nor indifference. It is respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance recognizes the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of others. People are naturally diverse; only tolerance can ensure the survival of mixed communities in every region of the globe.

ESL Literacy Network
The ESL Literacy Network is an innovative website that responds to the needs of Learners with Interrupted Formal Education (LIFE) and addresses the professional development needs of ESL literacy practitioners in Alberta. This site, funded by Alberta Employment and Immigration, showcases comprehensive, research based information, resources and tools.

Responding to Elder Abuse in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities: a resource for seniors’ service providers in Canada – PDF (Ella Henderson, Coordinator, Project Wisdom: Intercultural Awareness of Elder Abuse)
This section provides an introduction to culture and explores abuse within the context of ethnocultural communities and immigration. Suggested exercises and practice modifications are given in the “what to do” sections and additional resources relevant to each topic area are given in the “further reading & resources” sections. This resource is by no means exhaustive and you are encouraged to follow up on the recommended resources for further reading and to judge the information shared against your own experience.

2012 Immigrants of Distinction Awards (Immigrant Services Calgary)
Since 1997, Immigrant Services Calgary has hosted the annual Immigrants of Distinction Awards gala. The event honours immigrants and refugees who have made outstanding contributions to Calgary and their community through their skills, passion and vision. The achievements of these individuals and businesses contribute to building the strength and cultural richness of Calgary. At the yearly gala, awards are presented to outstanding individuals and businesses, and scholarships are presented to immigrant and refugee youth. Nominations for the 2012 Immigrants of Distinction Awards are due by December 6, 2011 at 4:30 pm.

The Global City: Newcomer Health in Toronto (City of Toronto)
Toronto Public Health’s mission to improve the health of the whole population and to reduce health inequalities is guided in part by population health assessment activities that add to our understanding of the nature and extent of health inequalities in Toronto. Building on earlier work (“The Unequal City: Income and Health Inequalities in Toronto 2008”[i]) that measured the effect of income on health, “The Global City: Newcomer Health in Toronto” describes the health status, related health determinants, and health needs of Toronto newcomers (residents born outside Canada who came here within the past ten years, unless otherwise indicated). The report was prepared in partnership with Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services to consolidate knowledge related to newcomer health in Toronto and is one of three Toronto Public Health Newcomer Initiatives funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Two other complementary initiatives focussed on settlement workers and family separation and reunification, are described in a separate report to the Board of Health.

Toronto Public Health Newcomer Pilot Projects (City of Toronto)
The purpose of this report is to summarize the findings of Toronto Public Health’s (TPH) two newcomer pilot projects. In addition, the report describes how establishing stronger links with newcomer settlement agencies supports TPH in meeting its mission to reduce health inequalities and deliver services that meet the health needs of Toronto’s diverse communities.

Improving Health and Health Equity through the Toronto Parks Plan (City of Toronto)
Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PF&R) is developing a comprehensive plan to guide decision-making in the acquisition, development, management and operation of Toronto’s system of public parkland. The process will include a review of current parkland and parks-based programs and services, as well as public and stakeholder consultations in the Fall of 2011. The process will be guided by seven principles adopted by City Council in 2010. The plan will propose goals and objectives for park services for the next five years to meet the diverse needs of Toronto residents.

Getting Leaders Involved (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about violence against women with Samira Kanji, she is president and CEO of the Noor Cultural Centre in Toronto, and with Sikander Hashmi. He is an Imam with the Islamic Society of Kingston.


Media advisory: Flashmob for the rights of non-citizen children and youth (CCR)
On the occasion of the Universal Day of the Child, 20 November 2011, groups in different Canadian cities will be organizing flashmobs to raise awareness about non-citizen children and youth rights. Young people are preparing flashmobs in over 8 different Canadian cities. Most of the main organizers are young refugees and immigrants who are actively involved in their communities to promote the fair treatment of newcomers.


Sensible solutions to poverty (Poor No More Committee, BC Local News)
Trail’s “Poor No More” committee would like to suggest that local residents have a look at some sensible and affordable suggestions for positive change that are posted on the BC Poverty Reduction Plan’s website We want to thank the Trail area groups which have recently “signed on” to the website in support of the plan. The proposals include providing access to safe, affordable housing, improving pay and working conditions for people in low wage jobs, increasing income and other supports for those who are unemployed or unable to work, making sure no-one goes hungry, providing access to high quality, public child care and making training and education more accessible and affordable.

Making a Point about poverty (David Johnston, Montreal Gazette)
There had been rumours that people were going to crash Kathy Dobson’s book launch Nov. 4 at St. Columba House in Point St. Charles to express indignation over the way they had heard she portrays growing up in the Point a generation ago in her new memoir, With a Closed Fist: Growing Up in Canada’s Toughest Neighbourhood. But it turned out to be a pleasant event, she says. “I heard those rumours too, that some people were deeply offended that I had misrepresented life in the Point,” says Dobson, now 51 and living in Waterloo, Ont. “I think this speaks to an issue – the way we tend to romanticize poverty. That’s why I wanted to do this book – to show the ugly side of poverty.”

Overburdened phone system a recipe for frustration among pensioners (Gloria Galloway, Globe and Mail)
Retired Canadians who need help applying for pension benefits are forced to navigate convoluted government telephone systems and wait on hold for long periods of time just to get through to under-resourced call centres that are often not authorized to deal with their specific problem. As a result, Service Canada employees and people who advocate for seniors say it is taking longer for many seniors to receive money from the Canada Pension Plan and especially from Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

The Mowat Centre and Employment Insurance (Andrew Jackson,
The Mowat Centre final report on Employment Insurance (EI) released today has won a fair bit of media attention, and will serve to deepen the national debate over Canada’s most important income security program for working-age adults and families. The Task Force has commissioned and published a number of important research studies which improve our understanding of the way in which the current EI system works, and does not work. (I would particularly recommend Leah Vosko’s study which analyzes how and why many precariously employed workers are excluded from the current EI system, and the study by Day and Winer which thoroughly debunks the old canard that EI significantly impedes inter-regional labour mobility.) The final report has been written from a generally progressive and well-intentioned perspective, based on concern about the many unemployed Canadians who fall through the cracks of the current EI system. That said, it is (intentionally) very vague, and could well be used by the federal Conservative government to justify some perverse changes.

Shortage of caregivers ‘a major cause of concern’: report (Misty Harris, Postmedia News)
Canadian parents assume their kids will look after them when they’re older. Those without kids assume they can pay for care with all the money they’re saving. But a new study on the aging population suggests both groups could be setting themselves up for disappointment. While the number of elderly Canadians requiring assistance is expected to double in the next 30 years, researchers say a shortage of adult children and health-care workers could mean the baby boomers won’t get the care they need. The Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) describes the outlook as “a major cause of concern,” noting a critical need for policy-makers to reconsider their approach to voluntary, for-profit and public homecare.
Full report –

ISARC to gauge poverty views, one MPP at a time (Michael Swan, The Catholic Register)
One MPP at a time, face-to-face, ISARC wants every one of Ontario’s 107 newly elected or re-elected legislators to answer a few questions. The Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition is forming interfaith committees across the province, arming them with studies and statistics and sending them into MPP’s offices to get clear answers on poverty. They want to know about each MPP’s commitment to the 2009 Poverty Reduction Act, welfare rates, minimum wage, affordable housing and support for community agencies.

Cycle of poverty must be broken (Sharon Murphy, Chronicle Herald)
There have been other signs recently that efforts to break the cycle of poverty are being given the priority they deserve. For instance, last month, the report on poverty Vital Signs: Taking the Pulse of Our Province got front-page coverage in The Chronicle Herald. I was inspired by the story of Wolfville’s response to a similar report in 2009, which revealed more than a quarter of the town’s residents lived below the poverty line. Members of the Wolfville Community Fund set about changing that harsh reality. First, they called for proposals that would bring medium- and long-term changes, not just a short-term Band-Aid approach to reducing poverty. They concentrated on education as a means of upward social mobility for children and youth living in poverty.

Isolated Moms (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Sylvie Charlie-Karam. She is the manager for an in-home program called Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) in Toronto.


TRIEC recognizes special volunteer achievements of Toronto Region individuals and the corporate sector: Over 6,000 skilled immigrants mentored through The Mentoring Partnership (TRIEC)
Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) today recognizes outstanding volunteer contributions to its award-winning program, The Mentoring Partnership, facilitating the mentorship of over 6,000 skilled immigrants. Volunteers will be highlighted this afternoon at 4PM at The Mentoring Partnership’s Annual Partners Conference and Volunteer Recognition Reception at Manulife Financial. The event is funded by the Governments of Canada and Ontario, and sponsored by Manulife Financial.

Canada plans to attract more skilled workers: But are there sufficient jobs for them? (Surbhi Bhatia, Indo-Canadian Voice)
But the big concern is that Canada at present is struggling with its rising unemployment rate. How does it plan to accommodate load of new skilled immigrants? According to Statistics Canada the rate of unemployment in Canada increased to 7.3 per cent in October 2011, edging up 0.2 percentage points. The economy shed 54,000 jobs in October. Full-time employment fell by 71,700 jobs, while part-time employment grew by 17,700. This decline is in stark contrast to the gain of 61,000 jobs in September. Expressing his discontent with the government’s announcement, Charan Gill, head of Progressive Intercultural Community Service (PICS) a not for profit organization working to help new immigrants, said, “The government is playing at the hands of employers. When there are job openings in certain areas they increase the number of skilled immigrants. But who is going to take responsibility for them once they come here.”

TV drama focuses on Canada’s ‘most celebrated caregiver’ (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
In life, Juana Tejada battled bureaucratic injustice to keep alive her dream of giving her family a better future in Canada. In death, the diminutive Filipina left a giant legacy: Her battle brought about a change in federal law to better protect foreign workers who come to Canada as live-in caregivers. The story, first brought to public attention in the Toronto Star, so moved her fellow Filipinos that she is now being immortalized in a 90-minute episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya (“Would You Remember”), one of the most popular TV dramas airing in the Philippines. The story is currently being shot in the GTA.–tv-drama-focuses-on-canada-s-most-celebrated-caregiver

Conservatives abandon immigrant live-in caregivers (MP Joyce Murray, Liberal Part of Canada)
In Question Period on Monday, Vancouver Quadra Liberal Member of Parliament Joyce Murray spoke up in the House of Commons on behalf of immigrant live-in caregivers. Representatives of live-in caregivers claim that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has duped immigrants admitted to Canada through the live-in caregiver program.

What newcomers want to know about starting a business (Sarah Wayland, Wise5)
There are only a handful of courses in Ontario that specifically focus on business start up for newcomers to Canada. The Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre in St. Catharines received CIC funding this year to offer instruction in Small Business Basics, Computer training, and Soft skills development. The Centre has offered the Crossroads self-employment program for women since 2005. [Please call (905) 685-6589 x 242
for more information.] Small Business Basics addresses what it takes to start and operate a small business, and includes 60 hours of class time plus several hours of contact with a mentor. Wise5 had the privilege of visiting the Small Business Basics class and conducting a focus group with class members just a few days into their class.


Thursday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to Occupy Toronto, City Hall, Transit and Other News.

A fifth of 311 calls go unanswered: city auditor (Patrick White, Globe and Mail)
It’s called Toronto’s help line, but for one in five callers there’s nothing but a busy tone. An audit of the city’s two-year-old 311 service found that 21 per cent of calls are never answered and that one in 10 callers wait more than three minutes to speak to an agent. The report from Auditor-General Jeffrey Griffiths blamed the poor customer service on high employee absentee rates, uneven staff performance and a shoddy performance management system.


Give Social Impact Metrics a Chance (Joyce Sou,
Measuring the social impact of nonprofit and charitable organizations is a polarizing concept. Some think quantitative measures are the only way to go, while others believe imposing additional regulations strangles the effectiveness of an organization. And then there’s an entire group that thinks social impact metrics simply can’t be viewed the same way in which the business community views financial metrics and accounting as their means of evaluation.

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Communications in social services/social change, immigration, diversity & inclusion in Toronto. Wannabe librarian, interested in nonprofit tech innovation.

Communications in social services/social change, immigration, diversity & inclusion in Toronto. Wannabe librarian, interested in nonprofit tech innovation.

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